A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas came into force early on May 21, ending a bruising 11-day war that caused widespread destruction in the Gaza Strip and brought life in much of Israel to a standstill.
According to reports, celebrations were heard on Gaza streets in the minutes after the truce began as cars honked their horns and some guns were fired in the air, while in the occupied West Bank, joyful crowds also took to the streets.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who had urged the UN Security Council to issue a call for an end to Israel’s devastating violence against the Palestinians in Gaza, welcomed the ceasefire.
“This is the power of collective, unified action. This is the effort of every person and every nation, together for a just cause. May this ceasefire be the first step towards peace in Palestine,” he said.
“Israel’s occupation of Palestine must end, and illegal settlements and apartheid like regime imposed in the occupied territories must be dismantled. Implementation of UN [resolution] for establishment of independent and contiguous Palestinian State with Al-Quds Al Sharif as its capital, imperative.” he added.
“It is true the battle ends today but (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu and the whole world should know that our hands are on the trigger and we will continue to grow the capabilities of this resistance,” said Ezzat El-Reshiq, a senior member of the Hamas political bureau.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Israeli and Palestinian leaders had a responsibility beyond the restoration of calm to address the root causes of the conflict,” he told media.
Britain also welcomed the ceasefire, with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab saying: “All sides must work to make the ceasefire durable and end the unacceptable cycle of violence”.
Both sides appear to be framing the ceasefire as a victory.